Thursday, Sep 29, 2022

From 17 Seats To Mere 2, Congress Faces Desertion Blues In Goa

When the 2017 Assembly elections were held in Goa, the Congress had put up a good show by emerging as the single largest party with 17 seats in the 40-member House, with its strength now reduced to just two.

However, the party is still trying to put up a strong face ahead of the Assembly polls due early next year, saying it is not deterred by the desertions.

On Monday, Goa Pradesh Congress Committee's working president Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco became the latest MLA to quit the party over the last five years.

Notably, his name had figured in the first list of eight candidates announced by the Congress last week for the forthcoming state polls.

Before Lourenco's resignation, BJP's Goa election in-charge Devendra Fadnavis had said, “The Congress has been reduced to a rickshaw party with three wheels, and soon it will turn into a bicycle party with only two of them remaining."

Fadnavis had predicted that Pratapsingh Rane will also quit the Congress. But, Rane is still with the Congress.

The biggest jolt the Congress came in 2019 when a group of its 10 MLAs, led by then leader of opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar, left the party together and joined the ruling BJP.

This year, as the next Assembly election draws closer, more MLAs quit the Congress one after the other.

Following the 2017 Assembly polls, Vishwajit Rane, Goa's current health minister, was the first to resign from the Congress as well as from the Assembly soon after taking oath as an MLA.

After him, two other MLAs – Subhash Shirodkar and Dayanand Sopte – also resigned from the party.

All the three were later re-elected in by-elections on the BJP's ticket.

Recently, Luizinho Faleiro and Ravi Naik, both former chief ministers, also left the Congress.
The party is now left with only Pratapsingh Rane and Digambar Kamat, both of whom are also former CMs.

On Tuesday, the Aam Aadmi Party's national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal took a dig at the Goa Congress, saying, "Fifteen are sold, only two are remaining, they are the last stock. Little stock is remaining.”

However, Leader of Opposition Digambar Kamat has remained unfazed and expressed confidence that he will lead the Congress to a thumping victory in the 2022 state polls and that his party will form government.

“The Congress has successfully faced many storms, floods and tsunamis. Our functionaries have the strength and mettle to defeat opportunists,” Kamat recently said.


-With PTI inputs